“When I performed on stage, they said that my body was surrounded by a halo of light……”
Editor(s): FistFullOfDollars, Amelea
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Zhou Sheng lazed about as he smoked outside the court with Huang Ting. Huang Ting noticed that Yu Hao seemed absent-minded, so he asked, “What’s wrong?”
Yu Hao shook his head. Huang Ting said, “Just answer whatever they ask you later, it’ll be fine as long as you tell them the truth.”
Yu Hao and Zhou Sheng both responded with an “un”. Not long after, someone from court came to pick them up so Huang Ting had to part with them. The receptionist brought them to a small room to wait.
Zhou Sheng saw that Yu Hao had remained silent, so he said, “Don’t be too nervous. We’re witnesses, and witnesses are all kings here.”
Yu Hao laughed, “I’ve been preoccupied over something these days.”
Zhou Sheng raised his eyebrow to prompt him to continue. Yu Hao said to Zhou Sheng, “Now that Nini is standing up to testify against her father, she seems to have changed a lot compared to how she was like in the beginning.”
Zhou Sheng casually lay down on the sofa and said in a bored voice, “She probably figured things out ba?”
At that moment, Yu Hao felt that Zhou Sheng seemed to have something on his mind, and his gaze seemed to not be on him any longer. The corners of his mouth turned up slightly.
“In such a short span of time, can one person really muster so much courage and change themselves to the point they can face the fears they had never managed to overcome in the past?” Yu Hao continued.
“Why not?” Zhou Sheng’s tone turned serious, and he suddenly seemed different from his usual self. Sometimes, Yu Hao felt like he couldn’t understand Zhou Sheng. He was really lazy most of the time, but in the rare moments he became serious, he would have a peculiar aura around him and would speak with complete conviction.
Zhou Sheng is a very astute person, and was much more clever than himself. Yu Hao thinks that he’s smarter even when compared to Chen Yekai and Huang Ting. He could sense that the demeanour that Zhou Sheng presented most of the time was some kind of disguise. His true character was very observant, who was also reluctant to reveal what he knows most of the time and instead gives careful consideration to the people around him. Just like how he had dealt with Fu Liqun’s heartbreak, as well as his care for Yu Hao.
For example, when he got Yu Hao to change dormitories. He knew that Yu Hao wasn’t willing to take advantage of other people, so he gave him the chance to fork out some money. After treating him to a meal, he would allow Yu Hao to return the favour as well, but he has always chosen places that Yu Hao could afford.
Zhou Sheng was even aware of a tiny detail like Yu Hao washing his hair at Chen Yekai’s place after he got up in the morning. Sometimes, he would just casually poke fun at it, but at other times, when his gaze turns fierce, he would look even more ferocious than Huang Ting.
“Students, it’s your turn to appear in court.” A clerk came in and led them out.
Yu Hao’s impression of courts were entirely based on what he saw in TVB dramas: the plaintiff would sit down at one side while the defendant would sit down at the other and lawyers would walk up and down the courtroom. Now that he was in a courtroom for the first time, he realised that it looked completely different from what he had imagined. The procuratorate and the court seemed to attach great significance to this case. A group of people adorned with peaked caps sat solemnly in an upright position.
The plaintiffs were Shi Ni’s uncle and aunt. After a summary of the case was presented, everything went unexpectedly smoothly, and Yu Hao was only questioned about the events that had occurred. Yu Hao only nodded as he said “yes” most of the time, since the evidence that had been gathered was rather comprehensive. Shi Liang had his head lowered throughout the entire session, and the defendant’s lawyer didn’t make things difficult for the witnesses. Aside from the time when the defendant had to give his statement, Shi Liang remained silent for a long time.
Yu Hao’s heart was instantly filled with a miscellaneous mix of emotions. He glanced at Zhou Sheng -- Zhou Sheng’s expression appeared normal, as if he had long expected that this would happen.
“I admit my mistake.” Shi Liang finally said, “I didn’t differentiate properly, the kind of love I had for my daughter.”
Shi Liang finally pleaded guilty!
Yu Hao was quite stunned. The lawyer began to fight for leniency on Shi Liang’s behalf -- by urging the court to look at the father-daughter relationship he had with Shi Ni and how Shi Liang’s ‘love’ was only skirting the line of legality. Yu Hao immediately felt another kind of ‘evil’ -- within the construct of the legal system, it was the kind of evil that zealously seeks for opportunities to defend someone who had committed a crime.
“I implore everyone to forgive……”
“We don’t agree, and we won’t accept his apology either.” Shi Ni’s uncle interjected, “Shi Ni disagrees with it even more.”
“You fucking deserve to go to hell!” An angry roar sounded; it came from the person on the witness stand -- Yu Hao. Even Zhou Sheng was startled. Animated murmuring broke out across the courtroom, and a staff member came over to try remove Yu Hao from the premises. Yu Hao continued to shout, “That’s what you call ‘admitting your guilt’? That’s your repentance?”
“Don’t touch him!” Zhou Sheng said, “We’ll leave by ourselves.”
On the plaintiff’s side, Shi Ni’s uncle will take her out of Ying city to begin a new life. After Shi Liang pleaded guilty, the judge listened impatiently to him expressing his remorse before finally adjourning the court.
There were a lot of reporters waiting outside the court. Yu Hao hurried across the corridor to look for Shi Ni.
“Let’s go, hurry!” Zhou Sheng shouted, “Nini!”
Shi Ni’s uncle and aunt took her to the car. Her uncle then ran towards Yu Hao and said, “I’ve hailed another cab. We’ll wait for you two at the place we arranged to meet at.”
Yu Hao and Zhou Sheng walked out. A lot of reporters were waiting outside the court who had gotten their news from god knows where. The two of them got into the car and were driven to the amusement park to meet Shi Ni.
“Hurry!” Zhou Sheng took the card first and brought Yu Hao into the park.
Shi Ni had gone back to the hotel to change before she arrived at the amusement park.
Shi Ni, “Where are they?”
Yu Hao and Zhou Sheng both wore slim-cut suits, white shirts, black ties, and a pair of non-prescription glasses. They looked both refined and courteous as they stood at either side of the amusement park’s entrance, “Your highness, please.”
Shi Ni, “!!!”
Yu Hao and Zhou Sheng had prepared beforehand. They borrowed two sets of Kuroshitsuji cosplay uniforms in the amusement park just for today when they would bring Shi Ni here to play. Shi Ni immediately screamed, “Yu Hao! You’re so handsome!”
Yu Hao had looked at his reflection when he changed, and he didn’t expect that his figure would look this good in a suit either. Moreover, the suit was very fitting for him. Zhou Sheng, on the other hand, wasn’t as refined, so his aura was a bit lacking.
“Hey hey.” Zhou Sheng said, “Do you have something against me? Aren’t I handsome?”
“You’re very handsome too, okay?” Shi Ni looked at Yu Hao, “You really look like the black butler!”
Zhou Sheng, “What about me?!”
Shi Ni, “You look like a big bro from the underworld……”
Zhou Sheng, “……”
“We’ll pick you up in the evening.” Shi Ni’s uncle waved at her, then Yu Hao and Zhou Sheng brought Shi Ni into the amusement park.
Yu Hao had always thought it was kind of strange to bring Shi Ni to the amusement park with Zhou Sheng, as if they were bringing their daughter there to play. But with these two black suits that Zhou Sheng had rented, they immediately transformed into butlers accompanying their princess. Their attire had attracted the gazes of countless couples, and all of them envied Shi Ni who lived in an atmosphere akin to that of a Mary Sue novel.
Zhou Sheng had even bought three express VIP passes, so they were able to bypass queues the whole day. They rode the roller coaster a whole seven times, after which even Shi Ni couldn’t bear it anymore, “The two of you should continue playing ba, I’ll wait for you guys below.”
Zhou Sheng, “That’s all you’ve got?”
Shi Ni, “I’m going to throw up! Who would bring a girl here to take the roller coaster seven times!!”
“I wanna go on it a few more times.” Zhou Sheng said, “Yu Hao, let’s go!”
“I can’t do it anymore.” Yu Hao said, “You can go play by yourself ba……”
Zhou Sheng, “Where’s the fun in playing alone?!” And as he spoke, he looped his arm around Yu Hao and dragged him away without allowing him any further protests.
If we were to say that roller coasters are a nightmare for Yu Hao, then being in the company of Zhou Sheng who had the amusement park’s VIP pass is the nightmare within the nightmare, because he would always choose to sit in the first row.
Yu Hao, “Can’t you play something else?”
Zhou Sheng, “I can. You want something more thrilling? Let’s both buy a bowl of hot and sour noodles to eat on our ride, then we can see who’ll finish the bowl on the roller coaster first?”
“No need!” Yu Hao immediately stopped him, “This is fine! I’ll just sit!”
“Aaahhhhhh——” Yu Hao was rather honest. Every time he rode the roller coaster, he wouldn’t close his eyes. The feeling of soaring into the skies was similar to how he had felt when he stepped onto the jindouyun with General, before they soared into the sky from the surface of the sea.
“Okay let’s stop playing.” Half an hour later, Zhou Sheng got tired of going on the roller coaster, “Let’s take the Mega Drop instead.”
“No!” Shi Ni and Yu Hao refused in unison.
“The ferris wheel then.” Zhou Sheng said, “The ferris wheel should be fine ba.”
“The two of you go ahead first.” Shi Ni said, “I need to go to the bathroom!”
They couldn’t help her queue for the bathroom, so Zhou Sheng dragged Yu Hao along to go sit on the ferris wheel. After they got on the ferris wheel, they sat facing each other before Zhou Sheng said, “Why does this feel so weird?”
Yu Hao, “……”
Zhou Sheng took off his blazer and was now wearing just a white shirt, while Yu Hao was still adorned in the full suit. Yu Hao said, “They must think that we’re gangsters who are here for a spring excursion.”
“It should be ‘accompanying our boss’ daughter to the amusement park to play’.” Zhou Sheng looked out of the ferris wheel and said, “This is my first time riding on a ferris wheel.”
Yu Hao sincerely said, “Today was my 13th time on the roller coaster, 7th time on the pendulum and my first time on a ferris wheel.”
Zhou Sheng, “……”
“Look at that.” Zhou Sheng motioned for Yu Hao to look outside.
Yu Hao, “What is it?”
Yu Hao looked in the direction that he pointed at -- there was a cloud there that had enveloped the peak of a mountain.
“It just looks nice.” Zhou Sheng said, “So I asked you to take a look.”
Yu Hao realised that Zhou Sheng was in a good mood today, though he didn’t know why Zhou Sheng was happy.
“Do you think Nini will get better?” Yu Hao said.
Zhou Sheng leaned back on the chair and pondered over it, then replied earnestly, “Of course, weren’t you the same?”
Yu Hao felt that the him of today was a completely different person from who he was before.
Zhou Sheng continued, “When you send her off to the airport later, I’ll develop the photos we took today and make a photo album for her.”
Yu Hao just smiled at him. Zhou Sheng was baffled. He looked outside the window, then looked at Yu Hao, “What are you smiling so foolishly for?”
“You have a halo around you.” Yu Hao said.
Zhou Sheng, “???”
Yu Hao, “When I performed on stage, they said that my body was surrounded by a halo of light……”
Zhou Sheng, “Oh, I remember now. Shan Jie said the same thing. She said that you seemed like a different person, and even had your own spotlight effect.”
Yu Hao smiled, “You’re the same today.”
Zhou Sheng looked at Yu Hao suspiciously and said, “Me?”
“Yes.” Yu Hao sincerely said. Zhou Sheng suddenly felt embarrassed, “Okay stop being so corny, my current get-up is just passable ba!”
“Your get-up’s passable.’ Yu Hao smiled, “But your character gets an A+.”
Zhou Sheng, “……”
“Was the ferris wheel fun?” Shi Ni asked them after they alighted.
“It was really fun, I’ll take you on it again.” Zhou Sheng said, “We won’t have to queue anyway.”
“I want to take it with Yu Hao.” Shi Ni said, “You should go to the toilet ba.”
Zhou Sheng, “……”
Yu Hao took the ferris wheel again with Shi Ni. Shi Ni said worriedly, “Zhou Sheng won’t get angry ba, I just wanted to talk to you alone……”
“Don’t worry, he won’t.” Yu Hao said.
“You looked so cool when you shouted at my Dad today.” Shi Ni said.
Yu Hao was a little embarrassed as he said, “I just felt really angry.”
Shi Ni answered, “But don’t worry, I’m alright now. Today, someone came to find me and asked if I would be willing to cooperate with her, for something like an exclusive interview.”
Yu Hao got nervous and asked, “Who?”
Shi Ni said, “A representative from the Municipal People’s Congress.”
Yu Hao, “Ah!”
Shi Ni took out a name card and passed it to Yu Hao, “I told her that you and Zhou Sheng were the ones who helped me, so she wanted to meet the both of you. Would you like to see her? You know a lot, and I think you can tell her what you know.”
Yu Hao looked at the name card carefully, then answered, “What does she want?”
Shi Ni said, “She wants to organise some Social Studies classes in a few kindergartens and elementary schools in the city……”
“Social Studies classes?” Yu Hao said, “Okay! I’ll help her. It’ll be great if we could promote such lessons!”
Yu Hao took a picture of the name card. The two of them got off the ferris wheel and saw an unhappy Zhou Sheng who had bought some drinks and fried chicken while he waited for them. Shi Ni smiled, “It’s your turn now.” Then dragged Zhou Sheng onto the ferris wheel too.
At 5pm, Yu Hao and Zhou Sheng changed their clothes and took Shi Ni out of the park to send her off to the airport. Zhou Sheng said to Shi Ni, “I’ll go prepare a gift for you, I’ll see you at the airport later.”
When they arrived at Ying city’s airport, Shi Ni’s uncle and aunt were waiting for them outside the security checkpoint.
“That……” Yu Hao said, “You will come back, right? Nini.”
Shi Ni answered, “By the time I come back, I may already be an adult.”
“Protect yourself well.” Yu Hao smiled.
“You need to protect yourself well too.” Shi Ni said, “Don’t bump into a damned child like me again.”
Yu Hao suddenly burst into laughter, but Shi Ni’s eyes watered as tears threatened to overflow. After Yu Hao finished laughing, he said, “You’re not a ‘damned child’. One of the things I don’t regret the most in my life, was getting to know you.”
Shi Ni was overwhelmed with tears and she rushed forward to embrace Yu Hao tightly.
“Okay now, when Zhou Sheng comes over later he’ll get upset again.” Yu Hao laughed, “Actually, Zhou Sheng is my mental pillar of support. So if you always thank me without thanking him, it’ll be too unfair towards him.”
Shi Ni parted from Yu Hao and said abashedly, “What…I do like him too, but he’s such an arrogant guy. Yu Hao, look…….does my dress look nice?”
She delicately picked up the edges of her dress -- just like that moment under the totem in her dreamscape when she had performed a curtsy.
Yu Hao scrutinised her dress and thought of her dreamscape. This dress of hers is the materialisation of her totem — it was both an armour that could protect her, as well as a gorgeous dress that belonged to a princess.
“It’s beautiful.” Yu Hao answered, ”I’ve been meaning to say this all day.”
Shi Ni said, “On the day my Dad was arrested, I even dreamt that I had worn this dress.”
Yu Hao, “And you also dreamt of me, right?”
Shi Ni smiled and said, “I’ve dreamt of the both of you several times.”
Yu Hao nodded, “Un, what was I doing in your dream?”
“In my dream……” Shi Ni tried her best to recall the details in her dreamscape. Yu Hao’s heart suddenly began to thud violently.
“Dreamt of you and the Great Sage.” Shi Ni thought about it briefly and said, “Both of you defeated a……monster that my Dad had transformed into. Then the sunlight spilled everywhere, and I was no longer afraid.”
Yu Hao said, “Great Sage? Who’s that? Have you ever seen Sun Wukong before?”
Shi Ni pondered for a bit, then laughed, “Why are you asking me that? Un……I should have seen him before ba? I feel like, one dreams at night what one thinks of in the day, so it should be you and……Zhou Sheng? Aren’t the two of you always together? That’s why I asked if he was your boyfriend. What’s wrong?”
In that moment, all the sounds around Yu Hao seemed to escape into the distance. Shi Ni’s uncle arrived at the airport. Shi Ni stopped talking and smiled knowingly at Yu Hao. Yu Hao bid farewell to her, and Shi Ni walked through the security checkpoint.
Yu Hao turned around. Zhou Sheng was running into the airport as he looked all around him. He had a perplexed and irritated expression on his face as he searched for their figures.
“Yu Hao! Yu Hao!” Zhou Sheng had already ran through more than half of the airport with a photo album in his hand. He was stopped by security, but Shi Ni shouted, “Zhou Sheng!”
Shi Ni ran back again. Zhou Sheng passed the photo album to her, then the two of them said their goodbyes in front of the security checkpoint before Shi Ni entered again.
“Whew.” Zhou Sheng said, “I finally caught up, there was a jam on the way here!” As he spoke, he made a ‘yeah’ gesture at Yu Hao.
Yu Hao felt like a flood had burst through the dams in his heart. He stared blankly at Zhou Sheng. Through the roof of the airport hall, the sunset cast down and descended upon Zhou Sheng like a resplendent spotlight.
——End of Volume 1: The Great Wall——
Zryuu: Btw ZS turns speechless x4 times in this chapter because of both Shi Ni and Haohao. That was great.
Dollars: I’m not crying, you’re crying. Shut up.
Ame: 3 angels… a fluffy chapter.
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Cat.